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8/30/16 recap: Cardinals (eventually) win a pitcher’s duel

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Wily Peralta was good. Adam Wainwright was good. Matt Bowman was good enough. The Cardinals destroyed the Brewers.

So I do not regularly do game recaps, though as I understand it, it is not an uncommon experience for those who write the recaps to, for whatever reason, not be able to see the entire game. Maybe they hit bad traffic on the way home and miss the first few innings; maybe they have sick children/significant others/selves; maybe inclement weather causes them to lose their TV reception.

I have none of these excuses. I watched the first pitch; I watched the last pitch; despite the occasional lapse in attention, I kept my television tuned to Fox Sports Midwest throughout the entirety of tonight’s game. And yet, I absolutely cannot fathom what I am about to say.

On August 30, 2016, at Miller Park, 1 Brewers Way, Milwaukee, WI 53214, Adam Wainwright and Wily Peralta engaged in a pitcher’s duel.

Though I suppose, in the interest of proper storytelling, I should start from the beginning. Well, of the game. Not “of time” or “of baseball’s existence.” Sorry, Doubleday. You don’t make tonight’s cut.

Here was tonight’s lineup:

An off-day for Brandon Moss, but otherwise, the lineup is the same as the one that the St. Louis Cardinals fielded the night before against the Milwaukee Brewers. Once again, Kolten Wong gets the start, his second in as many nights after not having started since August 19, after hitting a home run on Monday. Mostly, though, a familiar look.

Oh, and Adam Wainwright got the start. Today is his birthday (I made it through an entire post one time making terrible Paul McCartney puns; y’all can survive this moderate one).

Anyway, the actual baseball game started and, as referenced before, Adam Wainwright and Wily Peralta had an actual, real life pitcher’s duel (disclaimer: they did not actually, literally, have a duel. This, while perhaps more charged with offense than tonight’s game was, would have been an very bad idea).

Innings 1-3: Whatever

Both Wainright and Peralta pitched three scoreless, hitless, and walkless innings to start off the night. Each struck out four batters.

Innings 4-5: Stuff kind of happens

To open the top of the fourth, Cardinals leadoff hitter Matt Carpenter broke up the mutual no-hitter with a single to right. The offense, jump-started by Carpenter’s proof that Wily Peralta is not an unstoppable pitching machine...did nothing. Jedd Gyorko and Stephen Piscotty struck out swinging. And then Jhonny Peralta grounded into an inning-ending fielder’s choice. In the bottom of the inning, Jonathan Villar ended Waino’s brief dalliance with perfection, but then in order to comply with the rules of what constitutes a pitcher’s duel, Scooter Gennett grounded into a double play and Ryan Braun grounded to first.

In the fifth, Yadier Molina led off with a single but then nothing of particular note happened for either team the remainder of the inning. So let’s just move on to the sixth inning, where actual stuff happened.

Inning 6: Actual stuff happened

Following quiet outs at the plate by Adam Wainwright and Matt Carpenter, Jedd Gyorko hit a home run. He does that sometimes.

Look, I don’t tweet from the VEB Twitter account. Craig is smart to keep me as far away from it as possible. So I don’t know who posted this tweet, nor do I know if this fun fact is even true. For what it’s worth, I can’t think of an obvious candidate to refute this. But, man, I want it to be true. I choose not to research further. This is a conscious lifestyle choice that I expect you to respect.

Unfortunately, stuff didn’t only happen for the Cardinals offense. In compliance with MLB rules, the bottom of the sixth did happen. And following a leadoff Keon Broxton double, Martin Maldonado matched him with one of his own and the game was tied, 1-1. And after a Jonathan Villar bunt back to the mound led to an ill-fated Wainwright attempt to pick Wily Peralta off of second base, it looked dangerous. But Waino was able to atone for his fielding mistake by retiring Gennett and Braun, and two-thirds of the way through regular innings, it was 1-1.

Bottom of the 9th: Uhhhhhhhh

Although Mike Matheny has achieved some notoriety for not deferring to his best available reliever in high-leverage, non-save situation appearances on the road, such as in Game 5 of the 2014 NLCS, he went with Seung Hwan Oh out of the pen in a 1-1 game tonight. Good process, in my “expert” opinion. But...good result?

Yeah, though it was scary. Oh retired the first two batters, but Ryan Braun reached on a bit of a fluky infield single off of Oh. Hernan Perez got a single and Braun advanced to third. With runners at the corners, though, Chris Carter struck out (it’s kind of his thing). On to extras!

Top of the 10th: Run(s, unfortunately not, but the singular is good, right?)!

Jhonny Peralta got the party started with a single. Next, Yadier Molina hit a rather pronounced ground rule double that, had it not cleared the fence, may have brought home even the extraordinarily slow Peralta. In order to avoid further concerns about Peralta’s non-speed, Jeremy Hazelbaker came in to pinch-run. And then Randal Grichuk singled to right, scoring Hazelbaker and presumably delighting this hero of mine.

It takes true commitment to spring for the custom shirsey of a player whose surname you apparently cannot spell. Anyway, unfortunately, while the Cardinals had the opportunity to capitalize by scoring more runs, they did not. Tommy Pham struck out, and while a Kolten Wong walk loaded the bases, Greg Garcia struck out and Matt Carpenter flied out to center. Ho hum.

Bottom of the 10th: The Matt Bowman experience

Considering he was a Rule 5 pick, Matt Bowman has had a pretty excellent 2016. Tonight was...less excellent. I guess I should explain.

First, Kirk Nieuwenhuis (I’m 60% sure I spelled his name right) walked. And then Keon Broxton walked. Following a Martin Maldonado bunt, Bowman recovered nicely to strike out Domingo Santana. Sweet!

Fearing another batter faced by Bowman, Matheny pulled the plug on the Bowman experiment and opted for Zach Duke after Bowman intentionally walked Jonathan Villar. The Brewers countered by pinch-hitting Manny Pina for Scooter Gennett and he...struck out swinging. It was nerve-racking, but the Cardinals managed to eke out a 2-1 win over the Brewers, whom they will hopefully sweep tomorrow, fulfilling Craig Edwards’s prediction.

John’s John of the Game

Did you know Adam Wainwright’s full legal name is Adam John Wainwright? Well, it isn’t. I made that up. But I can’t fathom not giving Waino any Player of the Game designation that can be given.